Why pick on "anon?"
It may seem as though I've been picking on "anonymous" lately, by featuring his/her comments in a serious of posts, answering them or dealing with some aspect of them. And you might ask why I'm doing this.
I don't usually respond to trolls, since I think they thrive on the attention and I have no desire to give them what they crave. Besides, it's a waste of time to answer a troll, since trolls aren't interested in the exchange of ideas, they are interested in annoying people and getting them to waste their time posting long exhaustive answers filled with points that can never convince the troll, no matter how persuasive they might be.
But a poster such as "anonymous" is not a troll. I'm not sure what his/her motivation is in posting (or even if it's always the same person, since he/she is anonymous). But "anonymous" often raises some interesting questions, and whether or not he/she (boy, that formulation gets tiring!) is interested in my answers, I am interested in many of his/her questions or points. They can be used as a springboard to do some research and to air some ideas of my own.
But it occurred to me that part of the reason I'm interested in some of what "anonymous" has to say is that he/she sometimes speaks for my liberal self. Now, my liberal self was never rude or abrasive, as "anonymous" sometimes is (or, as one of them sometimes is?). I was a kinder, gentler version of "anonymous." Nor was I ever a leftist, so I would never ascribe to some of the more extreme opinions some of the "anonymi" (I'm having trouble finding the plural of the word--help, anyone?) might proffer.
But a question such as the one anonymous posed about why the US didn't drop the atom bomb in some unpopulated area as a demonstration of its power to see whether Japan would surrender is the sort of question I myself might easily have asked, in all seriousness and with good intentions, just a few short years ago. The difference between then and now is that now I have more information with which to answer it, and more tools such as the internet to research it--and probably, because of 9/11 and its aftermath, more interest in the question itself.